Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has finalized its initial ruling against the county’s banks, meaning they won’t be able to collectively bargain with Apple for access to the iPhone’s NFC capabilities. The banks had lobbied for the ability to force Apple’s hand in the matter in the hopes of being allowed to make their own mobile pay wallet options available on the iPhone, but ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in the ruling that the commission wasn’t “satisfied, on balance, that the likely benefits from the proposed conduct outweigh the likely detriments. We are concerned that the proposed conduct is likely to reduce or distort competition in a number of markets.”
Apple’s iOS 10.3 update has solved a vulnerability that allowed iPhones to be tricked into repeatedly dialing 911, The Wall Street Journal reports. Meetkumar Desai was arrested last fall after designing the code, but a link to the code that went viral on Twitter led to pranks causing 911 operators in more than a dozen states to be overwhelmed by accidental 911 calls. The code relied on an iPhone feature that allowed users to place a call simply by pressing a phone number, but the latest update requires users to press a confirmation button before the phone will dial the number. The update will prevent the exploit from being successful even on apps that hadn’t already issued their own fix for the problem.
The latest investor update from Barclays claims Apple will include True Tone displays in all 2017 iPhone and add new 3D sensors to the iPhone 8 to facial recognition and augmented reality functions, 9to5Mac reports. The researchers said all three of the iPhone models expected to launch later this year will feature the True Tone display first seen in the 9.7” iPad Pro, allowing the devices to use an ambient light sensors to adapt the colors in the display to the light in the room to deliver the best possible color quality. While the OLED screen rumored to be coming in the iPhone 8 will set it apart from the lower-end models, adding True Tone to the full lineup could be a key selling feature in convincing users to upgrade if they’re looking for a reason to justify choosing the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus.
After abandoning efforts to unite network and basic cable channels into an inexpensive cable package, Apple is in talks to sell a premium cable bundle featuring HBO, Showtime and Starz, Recode reports. The company already sells all three channels individually, but has reportedly approached the networks about combining them into a single package. Sources with knowledge of the negotiations said there is no firm deal in place yet and couldn’t cite a target price for the proposed bundle. Buying monthly subscriptions to the individual networks through Apple currently costs $15 for HBO, $11 for Showtime and $9 for Starz.
Apple is staying the course on the commitment it made to fight climate change during the Obama administration, despite President Trump’s reversal on his predecessor’s environmental policies. Bloomberg reports that Apple stands with “many of America’s biggest corporations” such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart in standing by their earlier promises to address climate change issues, including switching to clean energy sources and renewable energy supplies.
iFixit has posted its teardown of the new 9.7” iPad released this week. Dubbing it the “iPad 5” for clarity’s sake, the teardown reveals that the latest iPad model is basically a merging of the original 2013 iPad Air design with upgraded specs such as a 64-bit A9 CPU and improved cameras. Comparing the new model with the original iPad Air, iFixit notes that the new model does omit the lock switch (which first disappeared on the iPad Air 2), uses smaller microphone holes, and a single row of speaker holes, and also of course adds Touch ID. The teardown report also suggests that the screen used in the new iPad appears to be very similar to that found in the original iPad Air, including an unfused digitizer and LCD and connections compatible with the original iPad Air. iFixit also took comparison photos of the internals of the new iPad and the original iPad Air, revealing that both models look remarkably similar, also sporting the same capacity 32.9 Wh batteries and having similar dimensions.
We’ve just gotten our hands on Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad and have a quick first look at the new entry-level tablet with a series of unboxing and comparison photos. The images highlight what’s in the box along with the differences between the new device and its small sibling, the iPad mini 4. The new 9.7-inch iPad is essentially the successor to the 2014 iPad Air 2, featuring an upgraded processor while adding a few millimetres to the thickness of the earlier model. The box includes a USB-to-Lightning cable and a 10W USB power adapter. The new iPad ships with iOS 10.3. Be on the lookout for our full, independent, comprehensive iPad review coming later this week once we’ve had a chance to put it through its paces.
One of the lesser-known new features in iOS 10.3 is the ability for third-party apps to offer alternative home screen icons, and today the first major apps have been updated for these new capabilities, reports TechCrunch. Both MLB.com At Bat and NHL now provide the ability for users to change the default home screen icon to reflect their favourite team’s logo. Both apps will prompt the user initially to select an icon to use when first re-entering the app or setting up their favourite teams for the first time, however users can change the icon to another team at any time from the app’s settings. Interestingly, for whatever reason icons don’t yet appear to be available for all teams (sorry, Leafs fans).
Apple has pulled back the over-the-air update to iOS 10.3 for iPhone 5 and 5c devices without giving any reason, AppleInsider reports. The update was available for a few hours before mysteriously disappearing, despite there being no noted outcry of users who had tried and failed to install the update on the devices. The update can still be installed through the standard process using iTunes, and seems to function fine on an iPhone 5c.
In a related development, The Apple Post has discovered that the beta version of iOS 10.3.2 appears to end support for devices with 32-bit processors — like the iPhone 5 and 5c. The beta only contains restore images for 64-bit devices, hinting at the possibility that 32-bit devices are about to lose support. Apple announced back in 2014 that new apps or app updates would have to support 64-bit processors, and recent speculation has swirled around iOS 11 ending support for 32-bit devices. A warning dialog discovered by developers working with the iOS 10.3 beta stated that apps that have not been updated to include 64-bit support “will not work with future versions of iOS.” Given the new findings in the iOS 10.3.2 beta, the change could come sooner than expected. If so, the 4th generation iPad would also be unsupported as it features a 32-bit processor.
Apple’s most recent Supplier Responsibility Report includes a buried connection to an automotive and mobility supplier and may hint at the company acquiring parts for its not-so-secret Project Titan car endeavor, AppleInsider reports. The report includes Bosch as a supplier, which is understandable given that the company produces the barometric sensor for the iPhone 6s, but the facility listed — located in Reutlingen, Germany — is specifically dedicated to research and development on products related to “mobility enhancement,” including automotive devices and wheelchairs. Apple is said to have scaled back Project Titan to focus more on the software and hardware to make cars self-driving rather than building a car from scratch, and it’s still a mystery what types of components the company is buying from the Bosch facility in Germany.
Apple is cracking down on the practice of developers putting “free” in the name of their apps to set them apart from other competing apps, VentureBeat reports. While Apple’s developer guide has long discouraged app makers from making such a blatant move, the company is now outright rejecting apps that make any mention of their price in the name or within screenshots. Submitting an app with “free” in its title now returns the following error message: “Your app’s name, icons, screenshots, or previews to be displayed on the App Store include references to your app’s price, which is not considered a part of these metadata items. Please remove any references to your app’s price from your app’s name, including any references to your app being free or discounted. If you would like to advertise changes to your app’s price, it would be appropriate to include this information in the app description.” Existing apps with “free” in their names are still available on the App Store and seem unaffected, but it’s possible that future updates will be rejected if the name isn’t changed to move into compliance with the new policy. Apple confirmed the change but offered no further comment.
Apple Pay has gone live in Taiwan, making the island nation the 14th country to adopt the mobile payment system. Users can now add MasterCard and Visa cards issued by Cathay United Bank, CTBC Bank, E.SUN Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Taishin International Bank, Taipei Fubon Bank and Union Bank of Taiwan. The China Post reports that The Breeze Center, Far Eastern Department Stores, Sogo, Carrefour and PXMart are among the businesses allowing Apple Pay to be used at all locations. FamilyMarts throughout the country are also jumping on the bandwagon, but currently only allow purchases from users with Taishin International Bank cards, planning to open up sales to those with cards from CTBC Bank, Cathay United Bank and E.SUN Bank in July. Apple Pay faces stiff competition from several existing mobile payment options in the country, as well as Samsung Pay and Google Pay, “which have both been approved by Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Committee, will reportedly be launching in the country in May.” To drive up interest, several stores are offering promotional events, like Breeze Center’s off of a NT$100 coupon for those spending at least NT$399 on any Thursday of the month.
Only one day after the public release of iOS 10.3, Apple has already rolled out a new iOS 10 beta to its registered developers. The first new beta, interestingly numbered iOS 10.3.2, has a build number of 14F5065b and according to the release notes includes little other than fixes for SiriKit car commands. New betas of watchOS 3.2.2 and tvOS 10.2.1 were also released to developers today, with similarly sparse release notes indicating only bug fixes and security improvements.
A new blog post from Barron’s suggests Apple is still working on a cellular version of the Apple Watch and is considering creating a hybrid USB-C/Lightning connector to be rolled out in iPhones as early as 2018. After a trip through Asia meeting with members of Apple’s supply chain, analyst Christopher Rolland said the USB-C won’t replace the Lightning jack in 2017’s iPhone line up, but that his contacts “believe Apple may be creating an interoperable hybrid that mixes the best of both technologies.” And while Apple is still working out the battery life and size problems related to delivering a cellular Apple Watch after failing to get one working for 2017, Rolland said the next version will include a SIM card to allow it to make calls independent of the iPhone and provide the ability to sync up with the company’s AirPods.
Urbanears has announced its entry into the Wi-Fi speaker market with a new lineup of Connected Speakers supporting Bluetooth, AirPlay, ChromeCast, and Spotify Connect for wireless music streaming. The first speakers to be released in the company’s new lineup are Stammen ($350) and Baggen ($450), featuring a minimalistic design in two different sizes; Stammen incorporates two 3/4” neodymium dome tweeters and a 4” woofer, and is intended for small to mid-sized spaces like bedrooms and studio apartments, while its larger sibling, Baggen is suited to larger spaces like patios and open-floor-plan homes, with its two 2.5” full-range drivers and a 5.25” woofer. Both models are individually wrapped in acoustically transparent fabric, available in six different colors, and also include multi-room and solo room capabilities, allowing them to be combined into a multi-room system with a different mood set to each room, or grouped together for synchronized listening. The on-speaker controls also reflect the minimalist design, with two knobs that can be pushed or turned to pause and resume playback, change modes, adjust volume, or select from up to seven Spotify or Internet Radio presets. An Urbanears Connected companion app will also be available to take users through the set up process and manage presets, speaker groupings, and equalizer settings. Urbanears’ new Connected Speakers will be available on Mar. 30 from Urbanears.com.
Apple has added the ability for developers to reply to reviews, finally giving app creators an outlet to respond to user critiques. Developers can now respond to any review — no matter when it was written — and after an Apple moderator approves the reply, the user will be notified of the response. After that, the user will be given the option to update their review, and then the developer can also update their response, providing a way for both sides to discuss (or argue over) any concerns. No matter how many times the response is edited, only the most recent version will be displayed on each review, and Apple is still moderating all posts to maintain some sense of decorum.
Despite the release of an updated 9.7” iPad model last week, multiple sources are suggesting that the much-rumoured 10.5” iPad Pro may still be just around the corner. A new report in Forbes cited IHS Markit analyst Rhoda Alexander indicating that the production of the new 10.5” iPad Pro model is expected to commence this month, although she noted that an April launch “still looks somewhat tentative.” This is largely due to the expectation of limited initial production, but Alexander suggests that Apple could do a limited initial launch in a few countries as the company has sometimes done in the past, expanding further “as volume allows.”
Along with the release of iOS 10.3 earlier today, Apple has also updated its iWork suite of productivity apps with several new features, including the ability to open password-protected documents in each app using Touch ID and format text as superscript of subscript and change text background color. Pages 3.1 also allows users to bookmark document sections, use LaTeX and MathML notation, and import and export RTF documents. Numbers 3.1 improves the editing experience for entering data and formulas, adds an action menu for quick access to common tasks, and allows users to add current or historical stock information in spreadsheets. In Keynote 3.1 slide masters and backgrounds can now be changed up, and a new presentation rehearsal view shows current slide, presenter notes, and timer on a single screen.
Apple today released tvOS 10.2 for the Apple TV, adding improvements to scrolling behaviour, support for cross-device movie rentals, and improvements to the Apple TV Remote iOS app. The new “rent anywhere” feature debuted last week in iTunes 12.6 and in iOS 10.3 earlier today, now allows users to rent a movie in from iTunes on their Mac or PC or on their iPhone and iPad and watch it on their Apple TV. When scrolling in a long list, an alphabetical selector will now appear at the right side of the TV screen to allow users to scroll more quickly to a section of the list.
Apple has publicly released watchOS 3.2 for the Apple Watch, adding the long-rumoured Theater Mode feature along with SiriKit to allow developers to integrate watchOS apps with Siri. The new Theater Mode feature, which can be enabled from the Control Center, allows users to mute the sound and disable “Wake Screen on Wrist Raise” with a single button, thereby preventing the Watch from lighting up automatically when the wrist is raised. Haptic notifications are still received unless the user also enabled Do Not Disturb, and the screen can still be lit up manually by tapping on it or pressing the Digital Crown; Apple Watch Series 2 users can also still use the Digital Crown to discreetly peek at their Watch screen.